Spaghetti Carbonara, an Easy and Foolproof Recipe

A bowl of pasta with bacon and bread on a marble table.

A respectable blog about Italian food can’t do without the well-known spaghetti carbonara recipe.  Do you have any questions? Is it easy or difficult? Are the ingredients available in Italy? Have a look at my recipe because making a delicious carbonara is quite simple.

I never cooked carbonara very often because I thought it was too rich in calories and too difficult to digest. Carbonara does not come from there, but I tried it, and its rich taste spread throughout my mouth. It was so light and delicious.

A plate of spaghetti with bacon and wine on a marble table.

How do you make an authentic carbonara?

Pasta carbonara, one of the most famous Italian recipes all around the world, comes from Lazio. If you have already been to Rome, you must have tasted it there.

Although several versions may be found in cookbooks, the authentic carbonara is made with only a few ingredients: long-shaped pasta like spaghetti, pancetta (or thick-cut bacon), eggs, Pecorino Romano cheese, salt, and some pepper. Nothing more is added—no onion or garlic, no cream, no butter or oil. That’s the reason why it is less rich in calories than you may think.

A plate of spaghetti with bacon and eggs.

What pasta is paired with carbonara sauce?

You should pair it with long pasta as the tradition demands. I like durum wheat Barilla or De Cecco spaghetti or linguine. This kind of pasta is quite rough, so the sauce sticks well to it.  Be careful; if you don’t cook long pasta perfectly, the strands will stick together. Follow the cooking instructions on the package and make sure to do it in a large pot with enough water. Stir the pasta well when added to the boiling water.

Should carbonara have cream or milk?

The authentic recipe requires only eggs, specifically the yolks, and a few useful tricks. The first one is the cooking method. Whatever you do, do not put the sauce on the heat source. Just brown the pancetta or bacon and toast the ground pepper. This method makes the dish less rich in calories but definitely scrumptious.

What cheese goes best?

Freshly grated Pecorino cheese is best in order to preserve its taste. It is a mature, hard cheese, made from sheep’s milk, which undergoes a long aging period. Slightly straw-colored inside and dark brown outside, Pecorino has a rather salty, sharp taste and a hard compact texture, which makes it ideal for grating.

Pecorino tastes a bit like Parmigiano, a good replacement if you can’t find Pecorino where you live. It won’t be the authentic carbonara, but it will be delicious.

Is carbonara a very high-calorie dish?

Let me offer some clarification: Carbonara is not a very high calorie dish on its own, but it must be part of a balanced meal. Carbonara won’t spoil your diet if you follow a few simple tricks. Cook a moderate serving of pasta and pancetta (or bacon) well; use one egg yolk per person, and do not add any other fat, such as oil or cream. You can even combine it with some vegetables. It is a special lunch or dinner item you might cook occasionally, just not every day.

Can you taste the raw egg in the carbonara?

This was my biggest concern. Can you taste the raw egg? Definitely not! Actually, carbonara has a really balanced taste where the pepper and toasted pancetta (or bacon) prevail. The egg makes it creamy and smooth.

Do you use whole eggs in carbonara?

This is a very tricky question: the whole egg or only the yolk? Some recipes require only one yolk per person. Others add yolks and one whole egg instead (for 4 people: 3 yolks and 1 whole egg).

I personally prefer using only the yolks to adding the whole egg because it is creamier and smoother. Moreover, the temperature of the sauce could make the white eggs set where your carbonara would end up like pasta with scrambled eggs.

A plate of spaghetti with bacon and parmesan.

Do you put raw egg in carbonara?

A carbonara sauce isn’t really a raw sauce because the eggs are cooked as they are tossed with the pasta water and very hot pasta. This method makes the dish safe.

Choose extra fresh eggs, preferably organic because safety is most important. Plus, it’s important to get eggs from chickens that are free range and treated humanely.

Easy original Italian spaghetti carbonara

You must have already heard about it, definitely! And you must have already tasted it, if you have come to Italy, especially Rome or Lazio. Everyone falls in love with Spaghetti Carbonara as it is delicious, flavorful, and very easy to make. Do you fancy tasting my own recipe? 
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword carbonara, easy italian carbonara, italian carbonara, spaghetti alla carbonara
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 1 lb of spaghetti Barilla, De Cecco, or Rummo (474g) spaghetti is the best choice
  • 1/2 cup of pancetta- or thick- sliced bacon 
  • 4 yolks, or 3 yolk and 1 whole egg 
  • 2/3 cup of Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano (80g)
  • salt
  • a few peppercorns
Servings 4 people


  • Toast the peppercorns in a pan over medium heat. Stir them to keep from burning. Allow to cool down and coarsely crush them in a mortar or use a pepper mill; 
  • Slice the pork into thin stripes and quickly brown them in the same pan you have toasted the pepper. (Personally, I do not like to dice it.) Do not overcook, so remove the pan from the heat and let stand; 
  • Set aside some of the fat, which has been released; 
  • Beat the eggs in a large bowl, stir in half the Pecorino, the peppercorns, and the fat from the pork. Season to taste; 
  • Cook the pasta until al dente in plenty of salted boiling water according to the package instructions. Drain it and save a scoop of pasta cooking liquid; 
  • Drain the pasta and put it into the bowl with the egg; add a splash of pasta cooking liquid and toss well. Be careful not to add too much water; otherwise, the carbonara will get too liquidy.
  • Add the pork, the remaining Pecorino, and more water, if needed, to the creamy, smooth sauce; 
  • Serve very hot. carbonara is ideally paired with a nice crispy salad;

Carbonara cannot be stored in the fridge, so prepare the right serving for each person so as to not waste anything.

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8 thoughts on “Spaghetti Carbonara, an Easy and Foolproof Recipe

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